Dafza. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: The Dubai Airport Freezone Authority’s (Dafza) foreign trade reached 12 per cent in the first half of the year, confirming the success of its plans to enhance its role in Dubai and to establish its presence among the free zones as one of the most developed, advanced and distinguished at the national and regional levels, officials said.

The results of the first half of 2019 confirmed the success of Dafza in achieving high growth rates compared to the same period last year, where it achieved a growth of 8 per cent in the total value of foreign trade which exceeded Dh78 billion, an increase of Dh5.7 billion.

This was driven by an 11 per cent growth in re-exports, which reached a value around Dh45 billion, representing 21 per cent of the total re-exports in Dubai.

For the second consecutive year, the free zone also achieved a large trade surplus of over Dh11 billion in the first half of 2019, a growth of 35 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Vital supporter of Dubai’s economy

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Dafza, said that the results of the first half of 2019 confirm the status of the free zone as a major contributor to the UAE economy in general and the emirate of Dubai in particular.

The results also highlight its strategic role in facilitating global trade through Dubai, which is a key gateway for various countries and continents around the world and is a meeting point for routes linking East, West, North and South.

Sheikh Ahmed added that these results are a reflection of the free zone’s efforts to increase foreign direct investment (FDI) to the emirate and sustain its business growth.

This reaffirms the initiatives of Dubai’s leadership and government in stimulating economic activity and adapting to the economic fluctuations the world is facing, from trade tensions to slowdown in global growth. He said it was a visionary and a strategic move to ensure the stability and growth of business and to maintain a high-level of confidence for investors in the emirate.

Dafza’s growth over the past two decades is a confirmation of its role in achieving the Emirate’s objectives and strategic plans of economic diversification away from dependence on oil according to a clear economic vision for the future.

Dr Mohammed Al Zarooni, director-general of Dafza, said the free zone has continued to play a key role in enhancing the growth of Dubai’s economy, through its solid plans which ensure that the free zone is home to major international companies, as well as ambitious small and medium-sized companies planning to expand across the UAE and the region.

Al Zarooni added that the results of the trade movement through the free zone are a direct reflection of the positive image and confidence placed by foreign companies and investors in Dafza and is an important milestone that showcases the various elements that ensure the ease of trade.

Trade partners and vital sectors

India accounted for the highest percentage of Dafza’s trade with 18 per cent at Dh14.1 billion, followed by Switzerland with 16.4 per cent at Dh12.8 billion.

China accounted for 15.7 per cent with Dh12.3 billion. Switzerland topped the list of countries in terms of re-exports from Dafza by 27 per cent, valued at Dh12 billion, a growth of 16 per cent compared to the same period last year. India ranked first in terms of its contribution to Dafza’s imports and accounted for 41 per cent, valued at Dh13.8 billion with a 16 per cent growth compared to last year.